As the YA community is typically composed of its intended audience (teens), that the users of this information community might be more inclined to find the easiest route to their solution is entirely reasonable. Many YA readers are under strain for time as middle and high school students — from personal experience, I know well how busy they are with not only school obligations but sports, extracurricular activities, family obligations, developmental concerns, and, later, college applications, jobs, friendships, and relationships. A visit to the library for some is one of dread and they wish to get in and out as quickly as possible.
Kacee, a recent college graduate and YA reader, has a little bit of a different experience as a lover of libraries, but is often pressed for time and seeks shortcuts to obtain the information she needs. A seasoned library user, Kacee has been using the library’s electronic catalog system since she was eight years old. Inspired by her love of YA fiction, Kacee is now pursuing an MLIS and occasionally seeks the guidance of reference librarians at the public library.
Meanwhile, she seeks more information regarding her interests in YA books in the comfort of her home with the help of the Internet. Here, Kacee reads and produces her own information relating to her pleasure reading. This sometimes includes “meta” or analysis from different perspectives regarding the material, fanfiction, academic analysis, and her own original fiction. All of this she shares on various platforms on the Internet with other fans. Of course, all of this she can do at a library, though time limits on computers, a lack of privacy, and a lack of home comforts (particular furniture, access to food, noise level, etc.) may dissuade her from doing so.
She notes, however, that her participation in the library and at home in the YA information community has improved her ability to use library catalogs. “I’ve actually learned a lot going through fandom archives and databases searching for [fanfiction],” she noted. She also found she was learning librarian skills by participating: “I learned how to use metadata (ie tagging) before I even really knew what that was called.” All of this, she said, has made her searching easier.
Although some may look down on the YA community, it clearly has its benefits as it teaches how to best use library services through practice and different venues.